Chris Jordan's Guilty Art

Check out this work by Chris Jordan that helps us visualize quantitative information using photography. His series, called Running the Numbers II, is a commentary on global mass culture, is now showing at the Winsor Gallery in Vancouver.

This new series looks at mass phenomena that occur on a global scale. Similarly to the first Running the Numbers series, each image portrays a specific quantity of something: the number of tuna fished from the world's oceans every fifteen minutes, for example. But this time the statistics are global in scale, rather than specifically American.

One work is made up of a series of watercolor paintings and depicts 20,500 tuna--the average number of tuna fished from the world's oceans every fifteen minutes:


I like these works conceptually (and find them heavy on guilt) and hope to inquire as to the profiles of the buyers of his work...

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Chris Jordan gave a talk about Running the Numbers I in my home town last summer, and also showed the sharks image from his new series. It was fascinating to hear him describe the elaborate (and tedious) processes he uses to generate the final images. He also explained how his art has influenced his behavior, in particular his refusal to drink beverages out of disposable containers such as plastic bottles or aluminum cans. Since he flies around a lot to give presentations as a Smithsonian Ambassador, he mentioned that his photograph of jet contrails, which illustrates the number of commercial flights across the US, makes him feel guilty.

... I'm definitely feeling guilty for the cans of tuna in my pantry. Beautiful art though.